Exclusive U.S. Viewing of Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia at The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia Will Offer a Fresh Interpretation Of Bonnard’s Repertoire, And a Reconsideration Of The Artist as One of the Foremost Practitioners of Modernism.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will play host to Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia (February 6–May 15, 2016, at the Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 34th Avenue & Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94121 ), the first major international presentation of Pierre Bonnard’s work to be mounted on the West Coast in half a century. The exhibition will feature more than seventy works that span the artist’s complete career, from his early Nabi masterpieces, through his experimental photography, to the late interior scenes for which he is best known.

Pierre Bonnard, “Self-Portrait”, ca. 1904. Oil on canvas. Private collection

Pierre Bonnard, “Self-Portrait”, ca. 1904. Oil on canvas. Private collection. All images provided by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 

The exhibition celebrates Bonnard as one of the defining figures of modernism in the transitional period between impressionism and abstraction. Several themes from Bonnard’s career will emerge, including the artist’s great decorative commissions where the natural world merges with the bright colors and light of the South of France, where windows link interior and exterior spaces, and where intimate scenes disclose unexpected phantasmagorical effects.

Pierre Bonnard, “Dancers”, ca. 1896. Oil on cardboard. Musée d'Orsay, Paris; acquired in 2013, RF 2013-20

Pierre Bonnard, “Dancers”, ca. 1896. Oil on cardboard. Musée d’Orsay, Paris; acquired in 2013, RF 2013-20. All images provided by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 

Born just outside of Paris in 1867, Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947) was the son of a high-ranking bureaucrat in the French War Ministry. In 1887 he enrolled in classes at the Académie Julian in Paris, where he became a student and follower of Paul Gauguin. Gauguin’s teaching inspired a group of young painters known as Les Nabis (after the Hebrew words navi or nabi, meaning prophet), with whom Bonnard joined. By the early years of the 20th century, the Nabis had disbanded, and for the remainder of his career, Bonnard resisted affiliation with any particular school. Instead, he alternated between the themes and techniques of the Impressionists and the abstract visual modes of modernism.

Pierre Bonnard, “The Large Garden”, 1895. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris; gift of Jean-Claude Bellier in memory of his father, Alphonse Bellier, 1982, RF 1982-58

Pierre Bonnard, “The Large Garden”, 1895. Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay, Paris; gift of Jean-Claude Bellier in memory of his father, Alphonse Bellier, 1982, RF 1982-58. All images provided by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 

Bonnard worked in many genres and techniques, including painting, drawing and photography. From the domestic and urban scenes of his early Nabi period to the great elegies of the 20th century, Bonnard’s output is grounded in a modernity that was transformed by his knowledge of works from other cultures, including Japanese woodblock prints and Mediterranean mosaics.

Pierre Bonnard, “House among the Trees (“My Caravan” at Vernonnet)”, ca. 1918. Oil on canvas. The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Pierre Bonnard, “House among the Trees (“My Caravan” at Vernonnet)”, ca. 1918. Oil on canvas. The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. All images provided by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Bonnard’s arcadia is filled with poetry, wit, color and warmth,” said Esther Bell, curator in charge of European paintings. “This selection of highlights from his career will make clear the artist’s important role in the history of French modernism.”

Pierre Bonnard, “The Dressing Table”, 1908. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Mr. and Mrs. Frédéric Lung Bequest, 1961, RF 1977-86

Pierre Bonnard, “The Dressing Table”, 1908. Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Mr. and Mrs. Frédéric Lung Bequest, 1961, RF 1977-86. All images provided by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 

Among the many significant paintings on view will be Man and Woman (1900, Musée d’Orsay), in which the artist has depicted his lifelong companion and one of his constant subjects, Marthe de Méligny. Also featured will be such masterpieces as The Boxer (Self-Portrait) (1931, Musée d’Orsay) and The Work Table (1926–1937, National Gallery of Art); and decorative panels and screens, including View from Le Cannet (1927, Musée Bonnard) and Pleasure (1906–1910, Musée d’Orsay).

Pierre Bonnard, “Woman with Cat”, or “The Demanding Cat”, ca. 1912. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Baroness Eva Gebhard-Gourgaud Bequest, 1965, RF 1977-84

Pierre Bonnard, “Woman with Cat”, or “The Demanding Cat”, ca. 1912. Oil on canvas. Musée d’Orsay, Paris; Baroness Eva Gebhard-Gourgaud Bequest, 1965, RF 1977-84. All images provided by The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 

This exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid. Presenting Sponsors are the William K. Bowes, Jr. Foundation, Cynthia Fry Gunn and John A. Gunn, the San Francisco Auxiliary of the Fine Arts Museums, and Diane B. Wilsey. Curator’s Circle: the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, Clare C. McEvoy Charitable Remainder Unitrust and Jay D. McEvoy Trust. Benefactor’s Circle: Lucinda B. Watson. Patron’s Circle: George and Marie Hecksher, and David A. Wollenberg. The catalogue (Hardcover and softcover, 336 pages) is being published with the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment for Publications. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

bonnard-book

Cover Art for Exhibition catalogue. 

 

Hours of Operation: Open 9:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m. Tuesdays–Sundays; open select holidays; closed most Mondays

Tickets Information: For adults, tickets start at $20 and include general admission; discounts are available for seniors, students, and youths. Members and children 5 and under are free. Prices subject to change, more information is available at legionofhonor.org/bonnard.

Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia Member Preview Hours

February 5, 2016 – 1:00pm

Rosekrans Court, Special Exhibition Galleries

All FAMSF members are invited to enjoy a private preview of Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia before it opens to the public. Benefits of membership include priority ticketing, free admission with a guest, and many other exclusive opportunities. Not a member yet? Join today.

Ticket Information: Tickets to the member viewing hours are timed. Advance ticket reservations are advised.

Mixed-Media Art-Making Station

February 6, 2016 – 12:00pm

GALLERY 12

In celebration of the opening of the special exhibition, Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia, Legion of Honor teaching artists offer exhibition-themed art-making activities. Artists encourage everyone of all ages to participate and tap into their creativity.

Ticket Information: Program is free after museum admission. No additional ticket or advance reservation required.

Opening Day Celebration for Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia

February 6, 2016 – 12:00pm

GALLERY 10

To celebrate the opening of the special exhibition, Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia, the Legion of Honor hosts an afternoon program featuring a scholarly lecture, live chamber music, art-making activities for all ages, and more.

Schedule of Events:

12–1:30 pm, Gallery 10

Legion Listening Series with live music by Chamber Music Society of San Francisco

12–3 pm, Gallery 12

Mixed-media art making for all ages

2–3 pm, Florence Gould Theater

Curator Lecture: Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia by Esther Bell

4–5 pm, Gallery 10

Organ concert featuring French composers

Ticket Information: Program is free after museum admission. No additional ticket or advance reservations required.

Curator Lecture: Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia by Esther Bell

February 6, 2016 – 2:00pm

FLORENCE GOULD THEATER

In conjunction with the opening of Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia, the Legion of Honor presents a lecture on the exhibiton by Esther Bell, Curator-in-Charge of European Painting.

Ticket Information: Free after museum admission. No additional ticket or advance reservations required.

Docent Lecture: Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia, by Alfred Escoffier

February 7, 2016 – 1:00pm

FLORENCE GOULD THEATER

Pierre Bonnard was one of the defining figures of modernism in the transitional period between Impressionism and abstraction. He worked in a decorative style where the natural world merges with the bright colors and light of the South of France and where intimate scenes disclose unexpected phantasmagorical effects. Coming to us from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the exhibition features more than 60 works that span the artist’s complete career.

Ticket Information: Free after museum admission. No reservations.

Docent Lecture: Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia, by Rita Dunlay

February 13, 2016 – 3:00pm

FLORENCE GOULD THEATER

Pierre Bonnard was one of the defining figures of modernism in the transitional period between Impressionism and abstraction. He worked in a decorative style where the natural world merges with the bright colors and light of the South of France and where intimate scenes disclose unexpected phantasmagorical effects. Coming to us from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the exhibition features more than 60 works that span the artist’s complete career.

Ticket Information: Free after museum admission. No reservations.

Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia Educator Workshop

February 20, 2016 – 9:00am

The exhibition Pierre Bonnard celebrates the French artist as a significant figure in the transitional period between Impressionism and Modernism, and features more than sixty paintings, photographs, and decorative panels and screens. These masterpieces allow viewers to reflect on the influences the artist encountered over the span of his career. This program will be geared for students in the 4th grade and up.

Ticket Information:Space is limited to 17 teachers. Deposit required.

Access Day – Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia

February 22, 2016 – 10:00am

Access Days feature extra blue parking spaces, extra seating inside and outside the exhibition, portable large-print editions of exhibition labels, docent-led tours, audio tours (free for visitors with low-vision or that are blind), and printed versions of the audio tour script. Wheelchairs, folding stools, ASL interpretation (request two weeks in advance), and materials in alternative formats are available upon request.

Ticket Information: Free members | $5 non-members. Advance registration is required.

Docent Lecture: Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia, by Carol Porter

February 28, 2016 – 1:00pm

FLORENCE GOULD THEATER

Pierre Bonnard was one of the defining figures of modernism in the transitional period between Impressionism and abstraction. He worked in a decorative style where the natural world merges with the bright colors and light of the South of France and where intimate scenes disclose unexpected phantasmagorical effects. Coming to us from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the exhibition features more than 60 works that span the artist’s complete career.

Ticket Information: Free after museum admission. No reservations.

ArtPoint Cocktail Party: Pierre Bonnard

March 3, 2016 – 7:00pm

Pierre Bonnard was in his 20s when turned his back on a conventional career and allowed himself to be seduced by a life of painting. Bring a little of that joie de vivre into your life (without sacrificing your steady paycheck) at a cocktail party that celebrates paintings full of light, color, and humor. This after-hours event features a special live performance by Trainees from the San Francisco Ballet School, guided tours of Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia, hosted cocktails, and light bites.

Dress: Cocktail attire

Event Chairs: Christopher Correa, Samantha Hartwell, Emily Hu, Sarah Lee

ArtPoint is a group of young professionals that supports the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco by hosting a year-round program of events. Members enjoy exhibition-related lectures, gallery parties, and museum galas. Join today!

Ticket Information: $45 ArtPoint and ENCORE! Members, $65 General Admission. Guests must be 21 years of age.

#Bonnard | @LegionofHonor

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